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Legalization

The Latest: Maine Alcohol Bureau to Have Marijuana Oversight

Photo by Justin Cannabis

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on the first day of legalized marijuana in Maine (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he’s using an executive order to shift oversight of licensing and enforcement relating to legal marijuana.

LePage sparred with state lawmakers about who should have authority over marijuana sales in Maine. He gave the authority to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations on Monday.

The order is an outgrowth of a row LePage had with lawmakers last week about his desire to move oversight from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

The Republican governor says the alcoholic beverages bureau has expertise in managing retail sales, licensing and enforcement, and thus should have oversight.

1:10 p.m.

A committee of Maine lawmakers that will work to implement the rules around legal marijuana will get started this week.

Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau announced the members of the Select Committee on Marijuana Legalization Implementation on Monday.

The Waldo Republican says the committee faces a tremendous amount of work related to safeguarding public safety, regulating retail sales of marijuana and crafting state government oversight rules.

He says the committee will make recommendations to the full state legislature.

The state has until February 2018 to craft rules about legalization. Use, possession and home growth are all legal as of Monday.

11:20 a.m.

Opponents of legalized marijuana in Maine say they will continue fighting to make sure its implementation is done with public safety in mind.

It became legal to grow and possess marijuana in Maine on Monday. But the state rulemaking process will help determine where people can buy it and use it.

Voters narrowly passed the ballot question in November.

Scott Gagnon is director of Maine’s chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group opposed to legalization.

He says those who opposed the ballot question have gone “from a campaign to doing everything we can to mitigate the risk.” He says advocates will be there every step of the way as state legislators hammer out rules governing marijuana sales.

The state has until early 2018 to craft rules.

12:35 a.m.

It’s a green Monday in Maine.

The first tangible results of state voters’ decision to legalize marijuana are being felt as possession and home growth of marijuana becomes legal.

Voters narrowly passed the ballot question in November, and the waiting period between the vote and legalization has expired.

Contentious aspects linger, including what rules should govern businesses that will sell marijuana, such as retail stores and social clubs. But it’s now legal to smoke it, gift it, grow it and possess up to 2.5 ounces of it.

The vote was close, and opponents are continuing to push for restrictions.

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